In response to the media frenzy today about how we should be eating 7 portions of fruit and vegetables a day I thought I’d write a blog post to share with you some of the things I do to incorporate more fruit and vegetables into my diet and also tell you what a portion of fruit and vegetables is.
In this county we are very lucky to have such a wide variety of fruit and vegetables that we do, we are usually limited more by our imagination than lack of choice.
I make my own berry compote and have this on cereal, porridge in the winter or just with some yogurt – Really easy to make: I use frozen berries from any of the supermarkets and just boil it up for about 25 minutes with a little added water and some agar nectar to sweeten it slightly, allow to cool and keep in the fridge in a sealed container. Lasts about 7 days.
I also use this to liven up ice cream or to make a nice fruity sauce to go with dessert and makes a great crumble filling too.
Other compotes: Spiced apple (bramley apples cooked with spices such as cinnamon/nutmeg/clove or when in season rhubarb and stem ginger is lovely too.
If you like a savoury breakfast, try mushroom and tomato scrambled egg or use fresh spinach leaves as a base for poached eggs.
Lunch and Snacks:
Having salad in your sandwiches or as a side salad
Have raw vegetables to nibble on with some houmous or other healthy dips – I use: peppers, carrot, celery, mange tout, sugarsnap peas, cherry tomatoes, radishes, courgette, broccoli, cauliflower – the list is endless, so use your imagination.
I make my own coleslaw and tend to use half and half of red cabbage/white cabbage to add a different flavour to it and also helps with the rainbow idea!! But there are so many salads to make using veggies: Celeriac romalade, waldorf, marinated cucumber with dill, pickled beetroot, simple grated carrot mixed in with some yogurt.
For a snack, I like to quarter up a pear, core it and put a small amount of peanut butter on each piece which gives a nice crunch to the snack. Having a little bit of protein with your fruit snack will also help you stay fuller for longer
Any time I’m making a dish which is mince based I will add grated carrot and/or grate courgette to it, not only does this bulk it out but also adds flavour to the dish so you can get away with using less salt too!!
When having mash potato, I tend to add other root vegetables into it to make it more vibrant and flavoursome!! Try carrot, parsnip, butternut squash (I know not a root vegetable technically but does give a nice flavour), even beetroot if you’re feel adventurous.
Try mashing cauliflower in with your normal mash potato too.
Using cauliflower and/or broccoli as rice – you may of seen this idea before as it’s part of the paelo way of eating, simply put raw cauliflower/broccoli in a food processor and blitz until into small pieces, then boil in a small amount of water for 5-6 minutes or so. I’ve used this type of rice with chilli, curry and thai curry and loved it. the veggie rice absorbs the flavours of the dishes really well.
In summer, have a small side salad with your main meal.
Roasted Mediterranean vegetables is a quick and easy thing to make – it can be used for many different dishes – Usually I use an assortment of peppers (Red, yellow, orange & green), aubergine, courgette, mushrooms, onion and garlic!!
Roasted root vegetables – again easy to make & lasts for 4 or 5 days in the fridge, serve as a side dish with your main meal or add some chorizo to it and it makes a meal in itself.
Officially a portion is classed as 80g of fruit/vegetables so i’ve attached my handy guide for you to see what constitutes a portion.
What do you do to increase your intake? Would love to hear your ideas too!!